Melillo’s Mind: GEICO 500 recap and Plate Package talk

By Justin Melillo

May 1, 2018

Joey Logano snapped his year long winless drought at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, becoming the sixth different winner in 10 races in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

Logano held off a late race charge from second place finisher Kurt Busch, who shuffled out his teammate Kevin Harvick with two laps to go. Chase Elliott worked his way up to finish in third place.

“The Fords dominated today,” Logano said. “I am so proud to be in a Blue Oval with Roush Yates motors under the hood. That is a huge deal. A big part of our victory today.

“Teamwork was a big part of it as well. At the end you are racing and dont know what will happen, you just hope to get in the right lanes at the right time with the right moves.”

Logano, along with his teammate, Brad Keselowski, and team alliance partner Paul Menard,  were able to sweep all three stages and lead a combined total of 99 laps of the 188 lap event. Logano led the most at 70 laps, while Keselowski won Stage one, and Menard won Stage two.

“After waiting a full year since our last win it feels so good to get back in Victory Lane and get our 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford into the playoffs,” Logano said. “It feels really good to get those playoff points and now we will make a run at a championship”


Ok, so I understand that the racing we have today is still loads better than what NASCAR had back in the “Glory days” of the sport, before I was even born.

With that said, in the modern era of NASCAR, when NASCAR hits the plate tracks, it’s supposed to be the great equalizer, giving anyone the chance to make cool moves and get around the best in the business.

We didnt really have that on Sunday. Instead, at the end, it was Logano taking the Fords around in a parade until Kurt Busch finally made a move that sealed it for Logano. When Busch passed his teammate, Harvick, it created enough of a gap that nobody would be able to build up enough energy to get around the No. 22 of Logano.

I’m no aerodynamic specialist and I wont pretend to be, but what we have, whatever it is, isnt giving us the best possible product. Drivers are saying that the cars are too unpredictable, or too difficult to make moves with on the superspeedways with the current package.

Why can’t NASCAR produce a package with more downforce, that not only slows the cars down, but makes them more stable and allows for the exciting moves we used to get not too long ago?

Im not saying that the race on Sunday wasnt enjoyable, but just think what it could have been if drivers could actually drive their cars instead of hanging on for the ride.

A seven-time champion spun because of the AIR on Sunday. No contact, no crazy moves, just the air on his car from his teammate, William Byron, upset him enough to spin in front of the field to cause the “Big One.” That shouldn’t ever happen.


This weekend, all three of the big series take to the high concrete banks at Dover International Speedway. Dover moves up a month in the schedule as compared to last year, now before the All Star Race, instead of after it.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series strikes first, on Friday, May 4th, and will take the green flag around 5:00 p.m. ET.

The following day, the NASCAR XFINITY Series will race around 1:30 pm ET, in it’s fourth and final Dash 4 Cash race, which will feature no Cup Series drivers.

Finally, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series goes live at 2 p.m. ET, for the 11th race of the 2018 season.

For the Cup Series race, I’m going to go out on limb and pick an underdog to win this weekend... Jimmie Johnson. That’s right, consider him an underdog this weekend, solely for the fact that his team, Hendrick Motorsports, has not produced the results that they normally would get at this point in the season.

I just have a feeling that Johnson and his team are going to find a way to make it back to victory lane this weekend, like they’ve done 11 times in the past at Dover.


Dante Ricci/TRE

Dominic Aragon/TRE

Austin McFadden/TRE


Ford Performance